Should Philadelphia employers be required to provide paid sick leave to their workers?
That debate returned to City Council today. Councilman Bill Greenlee is taking another crack at getting the earned sick leave bill passed.
After a four-hour long hearing, Council's Public Health Committee approved the bill which could come up for a final vote as early as next week. Mayor Nutter will likely veto it and Greenlee will need 12 votes for a veto override.
So far eight members have signed on in support of the bill and Greenlee said he is confident he can get the bill through this time.
The administration described the bill as commendable, but said it would hurt businesses in the city.
"When imposed at a municipal level as opposed to a state or national level [the bill] would create a significant disadvantage for Philadelphia businesses and the competitiveness of our city's economy," said Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for Economic Development.
Greenlee, who was especially fired up, slammed the administration and questioned why the health commissioner was not available to testify.
"I don't think that was his decision," Greenlee said of the health commissioner declining to appear. "They didn't want the health aspect mentioned."
Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said the administration thought Greenberger was the appropriate person to speak on the bill.
Business leaders said the measure would be too costly and would ultimately drive businesses out of the city. Meanwhile restaurant workers and some business owners that offer sick leave said the bill would benefit everyone in the long run.
Greenlee made 23 changes to the bill. The bill would not apply to interns, pool workers and state and federal employees. Businesses with six to 20 workers would have to provide four sick days and larger businesses would have to provide seven days. Mom-and-pop stores would be exempt.